Inner City Press


In Other Media-e.g. Somalia, Ghana, Azerbaijan, The Gambia   For further information, click here to contact us          .

Home -

Search is just below this first article

Reuters AlertNet 7/14/07 6/29/07 6/14/7 6/1/7

How to Contact Us


Support this work by buying this book

Click on cover for secure site orders

also includes "Toxic Credit in the Global Inner City"

Inner City Press Podcast --

Ban Ki-moon Summons All Top UN Officials to Turin for a Weekend, Who Needs Long Island?

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis

UNITED NATIONS, July 20 -- Dozens of UN officials will travel to Turin, Italy the first weekend of September for a retreat with Ban Ki-moon. Such events are usually held on Long Island in New York, much closer to UN headquarters, attendees note. The Italian government recently committed half a million euros to the UN operation in Turin. But how much will the Turin retreat cost? It is shrouded.

            Ban Ki-moon is nothing if not a traveler. In his first six months as Secretary-General, he has spent much of the time abroad. In the first twenty days of July, he was in Europe for two weeks, back for five days, then off again to Lisbon. Later this month he will travel to San Francisco, a visit coordinated by the UN Association of the USA. And then on to Turin!

            In a July 16 letter, a copy of which was provided to Inner City Press by sources on July 20, Mr. Ban writes:

"I have decided to hold a retreat in Turin from 31 August to 2 September  2007. Now that I have formed my team of senior managers, it would be important for us all to take time out of our business schedules to get to know each other better, to exchange experiences and to reflect on the past as well as what is ahead of us.

"I have asked the Department of Management, together with UNITAR and UN System Staff College to coordinate this event. Ms. Alicia Barcena will be writing to you shortly with more information regarding the program, as well as the administrative and logistical details."

            Regarding these "details," a source who requests anonymity due to fear of retaliation asks, "All Under Secretaries General and some others are invited, ordered, to attend, all flying business or first class plus accommodation -- how much do you imagine that will cost the world's taxpayers? Usually held in Long Island, this SG does his retreat in Turin!"

On the road again: Mr. Ban arrives in Turin, with fanfare, on July 4, 2007

            Mr. Ban was in Turin on the 4th of July, where he issued a statement of "relief" at the release in Gaza of BBC journalist Alan Johnston, while in New York fireworks were viewed by "VIPs" from the UN's South Lawn riverfront. During that visit, Ban gushed that Italy is "the sixth largest contributor to the United Nations, and... put up half a million euros for the Staff College in Turin."

            The retreat will be held in Valentino Castle in the Turin suburbs, and all UN officials above the Assistant Secretary General rank have been summoned to attend. Ban has said, "We will be meeting for three days to discuss future projects, thanks to the support of the Staff College. My idea of reform is based on turning these high-ranking functionaries into a multifunctional task force."  Good luck...

* * *

Given Mr. Ban's omission of Somalia in his July 16 press conference, click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about the National Reconciliation Congress, the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund, and note the cancellation of the UN's pre-Congress flight to Mogadishu.

Feedback: Editorial [at]

UN Office: S-453A, UN, NY 10017 USA Tel: 212-963-1439

Reporter's mobile (and weekends): 718-716-3540

Search WWW Search

Other, earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available in the ProQuest service.

            Copyright 2006-07 Inner City Press, Inc. To request reprint or other permission, e-contact Editorial [at] -

UN Office: S-453A, UN, NY 10017 USA Tel: 212-963-1439

Reporter's mobile (and weekends): 718-716-3540